The Amazon Fire Tablet 7 is a great buy at $50 (Prime members can save $15 right now, however), especially for the kids. It's capable enough to keep them entertained while not costing enough to pull your hair out if it gets accidentally destroyed. You can also get all the (non-Google) major content services on there as well as a dedicated kids mode to keep those little fingers from buying a new laptop on your Amazon account.
But when you go to buy, there's both a "regular" 7-inch and a Kids Edition, which now also has an 8-inch version. Underneath, they're both regular Amazon Fire tablets. So what's the difference, and which one should you buy?
Let's break it down.
What's the difference?
When you spend $50 on the standard Fire Tablet what you get is the 8GB model with special offers, meaning ads on the lock screen. And that's it. No case or added extras, just the basic tablet and a charger in a choice of your preferred color.
When you buy the Kids Edition, it costs more at $100 (though Prime members can currently save $25 on that), but with that, you get the 16GB tablet, also with a roughy-toughy kid-proof case to keep it nice and safe during those inevitable falls. Amazon also throws in a "no questions asked" two-year warranty, so if the worst does happen, you just send it back and get a new one. The Kids Edition also comes with unlimited, free access to 10,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games with one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited included.
For an additional $30, you can get the Fire 8 Kids Edition which comes with 32GB of internal storage and a better-looking display.
The biggest thing to consider when thinking about getting the Kids Edition is the value-added inclusions Amazon gives you. The case itself retails for around $25 if you buy it separately, the 16GB 7-inch tablet costs $70 and then there's the FreeTime Unlimited subscription on top.
If you buy the basic $50 Fire Tablet you'll have to pay extra for each of these, and you won't get a two-year warranty, either. Likewise if you get the basic Fire 8, which starts at $80. You get the same value-add for less than the cost of buying everything separately.
You don't just have to get Amazon's case to protect a Fire Tablet from the kids. The FreeTime is no doubt a tremendous case that's friendly to small hands while still allowing easy access to all the ports and buttons.
There are a number of cases available at various prices though that will do just as good a job. So you can protect a Fire Tablet and give it to your little ones if it's not just for them.
It's not inconceivable you might want to use it yourself from time to time!
So which should I buy?
If you're purely buying a tablet for your kids, spend the extra and get the Kids Edition. It's worth the investment, not least for that worry-free two-year warranty. But it's a single purchase that comes 100% child-equipped, with that tough-as-hell case and the included one-year subscription to kids content. And if you can stretch to the extra for the Fire 8, that's the one to get. It's well worth the extra $30.
You can provide the same experience by buying a regular Fire Tablet at $50. But you should probably only get one of those if you're going to be buying for an older child/teenager or it's going to be used by yourself a decent amount of the time. If that sounds more like your scenario, then this option is for you. Buy a more grown-up case and slap in a microSD card and use it as a grown-up would!
Updated April 13, 2018: This post has been refreshed to ensure you still have the latest details on both versions of the Amazon Fire Tablet.